Skip to main content

Afghanistan: Taliban blamed for fresh violence ahead of elections

By Qadir Sediqi and Laura Smith-Spark, CNN
April 2, 2014 -- Updated 1501 GMT (2301 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: NATO chief praises work of Afghan security forces, says overall violence has fallen
  • The Taliban kill a provincial council candidate and nine supporters, police say
  • In Kabul, a suicide bomber kills six Afghan policemen at Interior Ministry gate, official says
  • The Taliban have vowed to disrupt April 5 elections and punish those involved in them

Kabul (CNN) -- A provincial council candidate and nine of his supporters were killed by the Taliban in Afghanistan two days after they were kidnapped, said Sakhidad Haidari, deputy police chief of northern Sar-e-Pul province.

The 10 were kidnapped Sunday and shot dead Tuesday night, Haidari told CNN on Wednesday.

The bodies of four of those killed, including the Sar-e-Pul election candidate, Hussain Nazari, have been returned to police, he said. The other six remain in the hands of the Taliban.

The Taliban have not commented on the incident, which comes ahead of presidential and provincial elections to be held Saturday.

In a separate incident Wednesday, a suicide bomber blew himself up at the entrance gate to the Interior Ministry in Afghanistan's capital, Kabul, killing six Afghan police officers, Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said.

NATO: Forces will stay in Afghanistan
Meet Afghanistan's next great hope for peace
Afghanistan's violent vote
Packing up, shipping out of Afghanistan

The bomber, who was seeking to enter the ministry, triggered his explosive vest when he was identified by police, Sediqqi said.

The Taliban have claimed responsibility for that attack.

Taliban vow to disrupt vote

The violence is the latest to rock Afghanistan in the run-up to the April 5 vote.

There are 11 candidates in the presidential race, with the three main contenders thought to be Abdullah Abdullah, who also ran in the 2009 election, Ashraf Ghani and Zalmai Rassoul.

Outgoing President Hamid Karzai cannot run again because of term limits.

The Taliban have vowed to disrupt the elections and punish anyone involved in them.

But NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, speaking Wednesday in Belgium, said that the latest briefings from NATO commanders show that despite the Taliban's threats, overall violence across Afghanistan "is lower now than at any time during the last two years."

Rasmussen praised the work of Afghan security forces, which have taken over many responsibilities from the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force, saying they had "demonstrated commitment, courage and professionalism" during preparations for the elections.

"As expected, we have seen a series of attacks including on Kabul today -- an attack which I strongly condemn -- but I welcome that the Afghan people have resisted these intimidation attempts," he said.

He said the country was now looking forward to "historic elections" that would shape its future.

"My message to the women and men of Afghanistan is clear: Go to polls, exercise your democratic rights. Only you have the right to decide your country's future," he said.

Rasmussen said any alleged electoral violations must be investigated swiftly to ensure the elections are credible to all Afghans.

He added that Afghan citizens are registering to vote in "quite high" numbers, despite the Taliban's efforts to disrupt proceedings.

Insurgent attacks

On Saturday, Taliban insurgents attacked Afghanistan's election commission headquarters in Kabul, staff and a government official said. The five assailants were killed, and two people were injured.

A day earlier, five militants set off a car bomb at a guesthouse used by foreigners and then held people as hostages until police killed one of the militants and the other four blew themselves up. A girl was killed in the attack.

On Tuesday, militants stormed an election commission office in Kabul, leading to a five-hour gun battle with Afghan security services. Five people were killed -- two police officers, two election commission workers and a provincial council candidate.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for all three of those attacks.

READ: Taliban attack Afghan election commission compound ahead of vote

READ: Official: 9 civilians die in attack on Kabul luxury hotel

Journalist Qadir Sediqi reported from Kabul, and CNN's Laura Smith-Spark wrote in London.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1049 GMT (1849 HKT)
British PM David Cameron has had the narrowest of political escapes.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 0106 GMT (0906 HKT)
British journalist John Cantlie hadn't been seen in nearly two years. Now, he's the latest hostage to be paraded out by ISIS.
The burial leader. The hospital gatekeeper. The disease detective. All telling powerful, stories from West Africa.
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 2303 GMT (0703 HKT)
Alibaba's IPO is unlike anything investors have ever seen and could threaten other online retailers. Maggie Lake reports.
September 20, 2014 -- Updated 0358 GMT (1158 HKT)
Indian PM Narendra Modi has said al Qaeda will fail if it seeks to spread its terror network into his country.
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 1201 GMT (2001 HKT)
Put yourself in the shoes (and sixth-century black robes) of ISIS' Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the mysterious boss of the terror group.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1939 GMT (0339 HKT)
 Tennis Player Li Na attends the WTA Pre-Wimbledon Party as guests enjoy Ciroc Vodka presented by Dubai Duty Free at Kensington Roof Gardens on June 19, 2014 in London,
Asia's first grand slam singles champion Li Na has called time on her 15-year tennis career.
Jenson Button has some of quickest reactions ever shown at an advanced sports lab.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1124 GMT (1924 HKT)
Creative companies with quirky ideas find new lending models advantageous.
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 1409 GMT (2209 HKT)
Even death couldn't part two skeletons excavated from a lost chapel in an English county, found with their fingers entwined.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1007 GMT (1807 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT